Intel: Dual core Atom’s next for netbooks
Just because tablets are hogging the spotlight these days doesn’t mean Intel’s done with netbooks.
The chip maker said in a quarterly earnings call that it expects significant growth in the netbook market over the next year. Dual core versions of its Atom processor, which powers netbooks and other low-energy devices, will be the next big innovation, Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said. The new processors will be released in the second quarter, with dual core netbooks likely to arrive during the holiday season.
Pretty much every netbook on the market today has a single processing core, limiting the speed at which the computer can simultaneously perform intensive tasks.There are other limitations that hold netbooks back, such as low RAM and the prevalence of integrated graphics instead of discrete chips, but the lack of pure processing muscle is certainly a major player.
At least one manufacturer, Asus, has already attempted the dual core netbook with the Eee PC 1201 N (pictured), but this chip is meant to be used in desktop boxes rather than portable computers. Battery life suffered as a result, with the netbook getting no more than 5 hours on a charge. I’m guessing the dual core chips Otellini refers to are designed with netbooks specifically in mind.
I’d definitely welcome a push towards dual core netbooks, but only if the price doesn’t skyrocket, and if battery life doesn’t take a hit. Otellini said that for its next efforts in netbooks, “rather than pricing I think we would look to features and integration as a technical novelty or twist here.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean dual core netbooks will be significantly pricier than the $350 to $400 you pay now. At least I hope not.
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